By Amy Wadas


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CARMICHAELS, Pa. (KDKA) — Investigators are trying to figure out how a woman got stuck in a pipe at the old Hatfield Power Plant in Carmichaels, Greene County.

Officials say workers on site were just about to flush the pipes when they heard the woman calling for help.

“Had they not heard her, she probably would have drowned,” said Mike Riggen, first assistant fire chief for Carmichaels and Cumberland Township. “They were down there to do some maintenance. He had heard the noise and thought it was an animal actually.”

Turns out, the noise was coming from a 39-year-old woman. Firefighters responded, and after 45 minutes, they were able to pull the woman out.

“She was very wet. We did coax her to come out to the end of the pipe,” said Riggen. “So we hooked up a body harness on her and lifted her 15 feet in a stokes basket and waited for the ambulance to come.”

State police questioned the woman at the hospital Monday afternoon. She claims there was no foul play and that she was walking and fell into the hole.

However, Riggen isn’t so sure. He said there’s heavy steel grating that covers the top of the pipe.

“She was either placed there or she climbed in from the other end,” said Riggen. “The building … the pump house, it was secure. There wasn’t any evidence of a break-in. We found no vehicles, she lives approximately eight miles from here.”

Riggen said the only way to access the other end of the pipe is by boat on the nearby Mon River.

“This is an overflow pond … They actually drain water through that system and they would have been flushing it down toward the river,” said Riggen. “Very lucky to have been discovered.”

First Energy owns this facility which has been closed since 2013. However, inspections are still done there.

The incident is under investigation by state police.